Teen Substance Abuse and a New Hope for Lane County Families

Adolescent and Family Services offers a new drug and alcohol program for families dealing with teen substance use

Jordan was 15 when his father lost his job, and the family moved to a new neighborhood. Soon thereafter, Jordan fell in with a risk-taking group of kids. He started skipping school and going to a friend’s house to smoke weed. As Jordan fell behind in his classes, he became discouraged, quit playing soccer, avoided spending time with family and began experimenting with pain pills. Jordan’s dad reported, “We felt helpless and didn’t know what to do.”

Approximately two million teens in the U.S. have a substance use disorder. In Lane County, a Health & Human Services survey found that among 11th graders, one in three had used alcohol and one in five had used marijuana in the past month. Substance using youth are at risk for negative effects on education, mental and physical health, and employment. A case manager at a pediatric clinic in Eugene noted, “Our community has a huge gap in treatment for substance using teens. We just don’t have many places to send families for help.”

As of April 2018, Adolescent and Family Services (AFS) offers new hope for Lane County families. With help from a federal grant, Oregon Social Learning Center and Centro Latino Americano have teamed up to start AFS, which provides a proven substance use treatment for families of teens, ages 12-18. Treatment is provided in English or Spanish, at no cost to families.

Over five to six months of family-based, outpatient treatment at AFS, teens learn new skills to deal with drug and alcohol challenges, such as problem solving, healthy ways to cope, and learning to avoid risky situations. Parents learn how to improve communication with their teen, rebuild family relationships, and eliminate their teen’s use of substances.

Jordan’s parents connected with AFS through a school counselor. Now, Jordan is working toward earning rewards through clean drug screens and his parents are learning to catch his drug use early and rebuild their lines of communication. For the first time, Jordan’s parents have hope and the skills needed to address their son’s substance use challenges.

If you or someone you know needs help for their teenager, please call AFS at 541-284-7560 or afs@oslc.org.

Content provided by Oregon Social Learning Center